How much is Manchester United target Asmir Begovic worth?

Manchester United have been linked with signing Stoke City's Asmir Begovic. How much is he worth?

Manchester United have been strongly linked with a summer swoop for Asmir Begovic of Stoke City. 

It appears inevitable Begovic will leave the club, he was even questioned about it on deadline day. Stoke then clinched the signing of highly rated Jack Butland - before loaning him back to Birmingham until the end of the season.

Stoke have wisely ensured they have a replacement for Begovic when he moves on.

In doing so, Stoke have weakened their position at the negotiating table when it comes to selling the Bosnian goalkeeper. 

With Butland likely to want first team football, buying clubs now know City have more or less accepted they won't be able to hang onto Begovic.

The Mirror didn't waste any time at the weekend, with their Sunday edition 'announcing' Manchester United would bid £9 million for the player.

£9 million. Is that the right price?

Expect it to fluctuate several times between now and the summer. Don't be surprised if in a month or so's time you read 'Manchester United linked with £15 million Begovic.'

He is already under the spotlight, and put in a stirring performance against Arsenal at the Emirates on Saturday making several fine saves to keep his side in the game.

A few more performances like that and talk will certainly push that price-tag into double figures. It's already creeping upwards - he was linked with United back in December, for £8 million.

Stoke signed Begovic for £3.25 million in 2010 from Portsmouth, and they'll certainly want to make a profit on a player who has a contract at the Britannia until 2016.

While Begovic is reported to prefer a switch to Old Trafford; Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool have all been linked with his signature. Stoke would clearly welcome a bidding war breaking out.

A look at how his 'price' can be led by speculation is illustrated by Tom Ince, the Blackpool winger linked with United earlier in the season.

Back in September he was linked with signing for the Red Devils for £6 million. As January came around and his form dipped he was valued at £4 million by the papers, and by the transfer window prices of £8.5 million were being touted for him, with Liverpool and Reading linked.

Neither club wanted to pay that price, and he remains at Blackpool. If Stoke inflate Begovic's price too much, they may be unable to strike a deal for Begovic.

Much will depend from United's perspective on what they do with David de Gea. If they want Begovic to be number one then they will be prepared to pay that little bit extra. If they want to keep the Spaniard and use Begovic to challenge him then they won't want to pay 'over the odds.'

Expect the hype machine to go into overdrive in the coming months. The question is how much will United and Stoke buy into it?

How much is Asmir Begovic worth? Is £9 million about right?

image: © ronnie macdonald

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